‘Taken out of context’: Turkey defends ‘highly offensive’ Anzac comments

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came under fire for his "highly offensive" made about Australians visiting Gallipoli this Anzac day. Source: Getty

The Turkish president’s office has defended Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “highly offensive” comments allegedly made this week in regards to Australians visiting Gallipoli this Anzac day.

Reports emerged on Wednesday which claimed that Erdogan had seemingly threatened that Australians who hold anti-Muslim views would die like their ancestors, referencing the thousands of Anzac soldiers who died during the WWI battle at Gallipoli.

Erdogan was speaking about the Christchurch terror attacks at the time and claimed the Australian shooter was targeting Turkey in his attack. The comments sparked fury with Prime Minister Scott Morrison who labelled Erdogan’s words “reckless” and “truly upsetting” to Australians.

However, Erdogan’s Communications Advisor Fahrettin Altun has now come out in support of the Turkish president claiming the comments were taken completely out of context.

Taking to Twitter following the outburst Altun explained Turkey welcomes Aussies to visit.

“President #Erdogan’s words were unfortunately taken out of context,” he wrote on the post. “He was responding to the so-called ‘manifesto’ of the terrorist who killed 50 innocent Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand. Turks have always been the most welcoming and gracious hosts to their #Anzac visitors.”

He continued by adding: “The terrorist’s manifesto not only targeted Erdogan himself but also the Turkish people and the Turkish state. As he was giving the speech at the Canakkale (Gallipoli) commemoration, he framed his remarks in a historical context of attacks against Turkey, past and present”.

Altun also included a copy of the president’s speech from the event which explained the country would welcome visitors that come as friends, without the hate expressed by the gunman in New Zealand.

“If you come as friends, our people will treat you with hospitality,” the speech reads. “If you come with enmity (like this terrorist), they will treat you accordingly.

“You cannot just write down names and dates on the handle of a weapon you then use to heinously shoot bullets at innocent people.”

Altun’s posts follow comments from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who hit back at the president for his “highly reckless” words.

Speaking on Wednesday morning, the PM told reporters outside of Parliament House: “Remarks have been made by the Turkish President Erdogan that I consider highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment.

“They are offensive because they insult the memory of our Anzacs and they violate the pledge that is etched in the stone at Gallipoli of the promise of Ataturk to the mothers of our Anzacs. So I understand the deep offence Australians would be feeling about this, it is truly upsetting. The excuses I don’t accept are that things get said in the heat of the moment.”

Morrison also sat down with the Turkish ambassador Korhan Karakoc at Parliament House on Wednesday morning, but said after the meeting he did not accept the ambassador’s “excuses”.

What are your thoughts on this story? Have you ever travelled to Gallipoli for Anzac Day?

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